firewood, wood, fire, hardwood, softwood

What You Need to Know About Firewood Before You Start a Fire

There’s nothing quite as sweet as sitting next to a warm fire on a cold Winter’s night. It’s the perfect recipe for a wonderful night. Grab some hot cocoa and listen to the crackling fire in your fireplace. But before you get nice and comfortable, there are a couple of things that you should know about firewood before you get started. Knowing about your firewood will help you build a better fire and will give you more warmth and comfort. I bet you didn’t know that knowing about firewood was so important. Well, here’s everything you need to know.

What You Need to Know About Firewood​ 

There are two main categories of wood: hardwood and softwood. They are very different and will give you different kinds of fires. Here's what you need to know about each. 

Hardwood

Hardwood is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a very dense, hard wood. This category includes oak, maple, birch, apple, and walnut woods. 

Burns Hotter

Any hardwood will burn hotter and longer than softwood. Hardwoods are a great choice when you’re relying on the fire for warmth. Old log cabins that have a wood burning stove usually need hardwood to heat up the entire cabin. 

Burns Longer

Fires don’t eat through hardwood like they do with softwoods. Hardwood will last a long time in a very hot fire. People that want a good, hot fire that is going to last all night will typically go for hardwoods. 

Harder to Start

Hardwood is difficult to get going but will last a long time once it goes. The non-porous nature of hardwood makes it difficult to catch fire. You’ll probably need to use some softwood just to get the fire started, then once the hardwood catches fire it should be good to go. 

firewood, wood, fire, hardwood, softwood

Softwood

Softwood is the exact opposite of hardwood. It’s porous and is very easy to cut. This category of wood includes pine, fir, spruce, and cedar. Pine is a great because it also smells really nice at it burns. 

Burns Quickly

Since softwood is porous, the fire eats it up quickly. It’ll ignite and burn really quickly. This can be good and bad depending on how long you want the fire to last. Someone looking for an all-night fire will be annoyed when they need to put more wood on the fire every 10 minutes. 

Doesn’t Burn as Hot

Since softwood burns so quickly it doesn’t have as much of an opportunity to burn as hot as hardwood does. As soon as softwood starts to get really hot, it will start to die out and need another piece of firewood. 

Easy to Start

Most kindling will be softwood. This is because softwood is so easy to catch fire. All you need is a match to catch softwood on fire. Dry softwood is the perfect firewood to get a fire going quickly. Someone that is looking for immediate heat is going to want some softwood. If you’re really cold, the last thing you want to do is try to get some hardwood going while you freeze your butt off. You could get a good softwood fire going, then throw in some hardwood to make the fire last longer. 

Summing Up

There’s a lot you need to know about firewood before you build your next fire. How long do you want the fire to burn? Do you want the fire to be easy to start? How hot do you want your fire? The kind of firewood you choose will play a very important role in the fire you have. So, next time you want to cozy up next to a fire, ask yourself these questions. It’ll help you decide which kind of firewood is a good choice for you.

Denali Gillen

I am a farmer’s wife living a farmer’s life. I love having wide open spaces and plenty of space to raise a family. Making the most out of outdoor spaces is something I never get tired of!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below